The inspiration for Diamondback's impressive new lineup of trail gobbling 27. 5in frames came from the brand's completely new suspension platform, known as Level Link, and everything from the frame geometry to the drivetrain was built not just to work with, but showcase, the suspension's design. As part of the first series of bikes to feature Level Link, the Release 2 Complete Mountain Bike makes efficient use of the latest modern standards to create a bike comfortable on everything from XC singletrack to hand numbing enduro descents, a machine whose nimble dexterity belies its ability to keep up in the big, scary stuff. The Release 2 is a major departure from Diamondback's previous designs, and the frame's aesthetics would be at home next to bikes that cost twice as much. If you don't want to take out a loan or liquidate your savings to buy a mountain bike but know your abilities are well beyond the limitations of an entry level frame, the Release 2 admirably occupies that sparsely populated middle ground. Rather than shaping the frame with low grade carbon in a heavy layup to keep the price low, Diamondback instead trusts hydroformed aluminum, giving the Release Two the incredible durability that has kept aluminum relevant even in era of ubiquitous carbon. The geometry borrows from both featherweight XC racers and beastly enduro machines, combining a long and low front end with a rear triangle that has all of the snappiness of a bike designed for racing smooth hardpack. Diamondback achieves this by knocking the headtube angle out to a slack 66 degrees with a plush RockShox Pike 150mm fork, then positioning the seat tube at 73 degrees to position you over the bottom bracket and keep you on top of the pedals. The Release 2's Boost spacing demonstrates once again why the new standard is here to stay, as it stiffens and strengthens the entire rear triangle and makes room for shortened, 16. 73in chainstays. You'll appreciate that stubby stiffness while stepping th...